November is the month of gratitude (and my birthday!!!) so naturally, it's my favorite. But in all honesty, though we should be more actively grateful all year, it's nice to have a month that reminds us to reflect on the many things we should be more thankful for in our lives.
The truth of the matter is this: when you're focused on yourself life is harder than it needs to be! Focusing on yourself leads to comparison, jealousy, and a true bummer of a mood. So, this post will be about the life-changing view I gained on gratitude from the Awesome with Alison podcast!
If you've talked to me lately, you'll know that I've become a podcast junkie and love the Awesome with Alison podcast in particular. Every single one of her episodes is just so thought provoking and amazing and I seriously binge listened to all of them because I couldn't help myself.
The first episode that really shook up my life for the better is called "WHAT IS a gratitude practice?! And how can it change your life?! We'll tell you!".
We've all been told (and maybe even told ourselves) how beneficial it can be to have an "attitude of gratitude" and to live a life that actively recognizes all that you've been blessed with. But, with so many things to worry about, constantly thinking about what we're grateful for gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.
What if I told you that taking that attitude of gratitude to the next level, and implementing a gratitude practice would make you happier, more energetic, more helpful, more giving, and experience more positive emotions? And that was just the beginning of the list of benefits?
Well, it's true! A gratitude practice will do EXACTLY that for you!
Alison quotes "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown in the podcast and the quote is SO good. It is, "If the opposite of scarcity is enough, then practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there is enough and that we're enough. I use the word 'practicing' because research participants spoke of tangible gratitude practices more than merely having an 'attitude of gratitude' or 'feeling grateful'. In fact, they gave specific examples of gratitude practices that included everything from keeping gratitude journals and gratitude jars to implementing family gratitude rituals."
The great thing about gratitude is that it forces us to connect with and focus on the present moment. It allows us to focus on the good, even though our minds are predisposed to remember the one negative comment rather than the 100 positive ones. Having a gratitude practice can help bring things back into perspective and help you have more balance.
Another great quote that was shared from "Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being" by Martin Seligman. "We think a lot about what goes wrong and not enough about what goes right in our lives. Of course, sometimes it makes sense to analyze bad events so we can learn from them and avoid them in the future; however, people tend to spend more time thinking about what is bad in life than is helpful! Worse, this focus on negative events sets us up for anxiety and depression. One way to keep this from happening is to get better at thinking about and savoring what went well."
Even though you've heard my condensed version of the podcast, I would still 1000000% recommend listening to it yourself! THEN, once you've learned about what a gratitude practice is, you should DO IT. And, conveniently enough, Alison truly is amazing and the next episode in her podcast series is a guided gratitude practice! So, head on over to episode 24: "I'M FREAKING GRATEFUL: A gratitude practice to help you love your life!"
To be honest, this way of looking at gratitude has been a life changer! As cliche as that sounds, it's true! Taking the time to truly recognize each of the (MANY) things we have to be grateful for each day can completely change your outlook and increase your desire to pay it forward!
Some ideas for implementing a gratitude practice:
- Write down 5 things each morning or evening (or both) that you are grateful for
- Listen to Alison's gratitude practice
- Write on a strip of paper one thing you're grateful for each day and keep them in a jar/box
- Have each person around the dinner table say something they're grateful for each night
(Comment below with more ideas you've tried or would like to test out!)